Building with Branches, Cockroaches, Long Talks, Barbeque and Defending America

What an amazing day.
Last night 4 new guys came to our lodge. 3 people from Britain and one from Denmark. They are awesome guys. We spent last night chillin’ outside and talking for hours.
The next morning we started out by doing the normal campsite work, but then returned to a full day of building. Finally! Nothing could have made me happier! I was finally able to build because I had other people who were happy and willing to help.
First thing I did was take the ATV with Mikkel (Danish) and start piling sticks onto the back of the trailer. I learned that he’s a fan of Kendrick Lamar and so played him a few songs while we worked. I find it’s the easiest way to bond quickly, because whoever they name I probably know and have on my iPhone.
Our project was to create a tu0nnel/archway that lead from the top of the stairs to their deck. Awesome!! I was the head designer (we all designed, I was just bossy), making sure that our structure had the right aesthetics. I had the curved branches go across towards the middle in order that the “ceiling” wasn’t too low and so that sticks could be placed on top of it. I also had the branches on the side follow certain lines. We used a drill and a screwdriver for pieces of wood that were think enough to support a long screw. For the small branches we used metal wire and twisted the ends tight with a wire cutter. Every single branch that was placed was done so with thought. We would decided together which piece should be used and where it should go.
The highlight of my day was when Leelach (guy’s wife) came by and said to me, “Aaron, did you know…you’re an artist!” I laughed and said thank you. Then told her that my mom had always thought I had an artistic mind. Pshh. Blushing time. She’s an awesome person btw.
We worked hard, but it was a lot of work and so I started to play music to keep up spirits. People don’t like to listen to large amounts of new music. It’s overwhelming. However, it’s hard to know what music people will both know and like. I learned that Reuben (Brit) loved Bob Dylan. Major props. He’s an great guy. I told him about Herzl camp and staying in Dylan’s cabin. I played him Dylan’s most disturbing music video ever for the song “Duquesne Whistle.” Worth a watch if you like Dylan. I played a lot of Dylan from my iPhone today. I told him about how I went to Herzl camp and stayed in the same cabin that Bob Dylan stayed in as a teenager. I also told him about how Dylan was booed when he played on the roof of the cabin, luckily that didn’t stop the hoarse voiced genius. By the end of the project the other two volunteers had shown up to watch and help form the project. Guy showed up and helped out and encouraged us and so did his wife and his friend Sahar.
Today was a wonderful day.
At night we all (the youngins) headed out to the store to get large quantities of food because we learned that the BBQ wasn’t going to happen until tomorrow. We had a great time at the store being goofy and buying food that we wanted and didn’t really need. Lots of guy talk. Got back and ate a hearty meal. A phenomenal day.
The only part of my day that wasn’t so great was when I went down to the campsite for the second time and started replacing the trash bags. I apologize that this story is a little gross, but it needed to be told. One of the parents staying at the campsite came up to me and started yelling at me in Hebrew. I understood half of what she said, the other half was way to fast and angry lol. I told her that my Hebrew wasn’t so great and she switched to English. She told me that the communal campsite refrigerator needed to be cleaned and that she was afraid that her food would be ruined. She also said something about being afraid something would jump out. I chuckled and told her that I would have no problem cleaning it. Got cleaning supplies and gloves and headed down to the fridge. It was dirty and had some residue food which I cleaned up in no time. Then I moved to the next fridge and took out the food to clean the place behind it only to discover a COCKROACH! I freaked out like a little girl and started jumping around spraying the thing with cleaning fluid as if it could magically make the bug disappear. It scared me half to death. OMG. Hahaaa I started laughing about it a few moments afterward. I decided not to tell the woman about it though. When I went upstairs and told my bunkmates they asked, “in our fridge?” and I told them that it was the fridge at the campsite. To which they all burst into laugher and said, “who cares?” Hahaahaa! I’m so squeamish.
Anyway. Here are some pictures to show the building process.
You get to see Guy in this video with his crazy hair and ridiculous strength. Such an awesome Guy (get it 😉
What a day!
Today we finished up the archway from yesterday. We made it longer at the end and had it curve around toward the porch. My friends worked on building a little roof for the grill while I worked on covering up the ugly part of the front porch. Again we worked all day. We mostly listened to Reuben’s Bob Marley mix. He loves his Dylan and Marley. Guy told us that if we didn’t finish the porch in time then we wouldn’t have a BBQ. He was kidding but it still gave us motivation to work faster.
Here’s a video of the finished product. This is the final outcome of the work I’ve done the past few days. Worth watching to see finished product!
I had a great conversation with Guy’s wife Leelach after I finished working. We talked for about 2 hours.We talked about being Jewish in Israel. Why people don’t go to synagogue. The importance of Zionism and the state of Israel. We talked about the role of the IDF in Israeli culture. We also discussed the difference between racism and simply fear. It was really great to talk to her. I loved how open she was with me, telling me personal things like about her father’s holocaust experience. She has a wonderful glow of energy and intelligence to her.
Then the BBQ. What a hell of a BBQ! The food as usual was incredible. We talked for hours. About everything from prisoner swaps and Bar Rafaeli dodging the draft to the saving of Danish Jews and America’s gun laws. For some reason, America’s gun laws came up very often in conversation. Throughout the time I’ve been here. The British guys talking about how if they lived in the United States they would have tons of guns. I argued against him, telling him that that having a gun doesn’t keep you safe, America being the perfect example (more guns = more violence). Interestingly, everyone assumes that Israeli’s have many guns since everyone goes to the military, but Guy and Leelach told me that’s not true. That not only is it hard for people to get a gun license, but that if they shoot the gun pretty much anywhere they could go to jail. That’s very different. There was actually a lot of making fun of America these past few weeks. That morning when one of the Brits saw that the American made hammer was bent he said that Americans never make anything that’s good quality. I responded with, “Except for every valuable tech company of the past 20 years: Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Android to name a few.” Before he could respond with what I knew he was gonna say, I told him that the products themselves are designed in America (not always made there). Last night, they we re all saying that Americans kill for oil, are wimpy for driving automatic, party too much in college, they’re all fat, stupid and that our national guard don’t know how to use their guns (saying that they were slung over their shoulders in the airport like purses). At that moment, I sorta flipped. I don’t usually consider myself a diehard patriot, but I realized how much I truly love America. So I came out saying that first of all, we are Israel’s #1 ally. Stuxnet, Osama, Flame, Iron Dome aid (~$400 million). Not to mentioned US just gave Israel a new weapons package back in April for security protection from Iran. You’re damn welcome. Leelach responded that the US also gives aid to Egypt and other Arab nations. First of all, that aid doesn’t go into the hands of the terrorists there, it goes to prevent terrorism through security assistance that limits extremist activities (aid in Egypt may be terminated soon). Second of all, the aid to Israel is soooo much more than any other country by almost a billion dollars! My response killed the hate against America, which is something I’ve never had to really deal with at anytime in my life. I mean, I’m not saying there are parts of America that aren’t embarrassing (ex: Kim Kardashian, Fox News, Westboro Baptist Church and Shrek 9). It just surprised me because the United States is the only country who will back Israel when it has to take care of its business (god forbid). Respect America first, then you can tease it.
Anyway, we still laughed our asses off. I had some of Guy’s special cherry brew which the Brits had helped make last year. The grilled chicken was delicious and when we finished we threw the bones to the dogs. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. It was great. Guy and Leelach told some hilarious stories that I can’t repeat online. The Brits were in rare form. I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful night.
I think I actually may have forgotten to mention that the three people from England had come last year in October for a few months in Israel and volunteered here with Guy. Then, they came back this year! Without a program. They just came to see Guy, because they love him. I’m not even sure if they paid. I think that is soo damn cool. One of the things Leelach said during our talk together was about how Guy opened the lodge with Zionist ideology in his head. Strengthening Israel, cultivating the land etc. Now I see that what they’ve done is so much more than that. They’ve formed relationships that are so strong people are returning to Israel and coming there to work on the land. That’s wonderful. She also told me that I’m always welcome here, and added with a smile,”Guy may have some work for you, but that’s not why you’d come back.”
It was a great night. I’m gonna try and capture the feeling in the videos and pictures below.